Leader of the Opposition, also the secretary-general of the Workers' Party, Pritam Singh has called on the government to consider implementing a universal minimum wage of S$1,300.
This was in response to the announcement made by Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo and the secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Ng Chee Meng on a new tripartite task force formed to look at how to raise wages of low-income workers across more sectors.
Universal minimum wage as a parallel endeavour
Singh said in a Facebook post on Oct. 13 that a universal minimum wage is a "moral imperative" and "an act of national solidarity":
"A universal Minimum Wage for the Singaporean worker is not just a moral imperative. It is a statement of what it means to be Singaporean. For the true measure of our society is found in how we treat our most vulnerable."
He said that the sectoral approach that the government has undertaken is taking "too long" to implement and the new taskforce appears to be sticking to the "Minimum Wage Plus" sectoral approach to assist workers.
Instead, a universal minimum wage of S$1,300 can be a "parallel endeavour" to complement the efforts of exploring ways to improve productivity and wages in various sectors, Singh suggested.
This universal minimum wage can be subject to regular review, Singh added.
The implementation of a minimum take-home wage for all working Singaporeans was part of the Workers’ Party manifesto during General Election 2020.
The party proposed a minimum wage of S$1,300 per month for full-time work, to be pro-rated for part-time work previously.
The manifesto references government data that indicate that an average four-person household in Singapore would need to spend S$1,300 each month on basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
It also states that there are over 100,000 Singaporeans who earn a take-home pay of less than S$1,300 per month, while engaged in full-time work.
MPs from opposition parties and the People Action Party have also debated substantially over the Progressive Wage Model and a minimum wage in the first Parliament sitting after the election.
Here's a summary of the merits and pitfalls that MPs have raised for both wage models:
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Top image via Josephine Teo/Facebook and Workers' Party website